When you ask many high school athletes what they like to do in their spare time it’s usually something like hang with friends and family. But when you ask Fort Gibson senior Graci Williams, the answer is a little unusual. More on that later.
First let’s talk about Graci Williams, the VYPE TOP 100 centerfielder for the Lady Tigers fast pitch softball team. The Williams name is one that’s well known in Fort Gibson softball circles. Graci’s dad Greg, himself a good athlete in his younger days, is currently the assistant softball coach. Graci’s sister Maddi Jo was a member of the Lady Tiger’s 2018 slow pitch softball state championship team and now Graci is in the spotlight along with Erica Hornback as one of only a couple of seniors on a very young team.
“At first it was a little intimidating because there were just two of us to set an example. So I made sure I was doing the right things and giving it my all and I finally figured out what to do, I guess, because the girls all seem to listen to me and give me respect.”
Fort Gibson coach Joe Obregon Jr. is appreciative of the job that Graci has done on and off the field.
“We not only lost some good talent to graduation but some strong senior leadership as well, so it goes without saying that Graci has been a constant for us over the past few years where we’ve struggled a bit. Her play in the outfield and at the plate shows her competitive nature and after I’m the “bad cop” a lot of times when I get on the kids, Graci plays the “good cop” to pick the girls up.”
Growing up in a family that has been big into softball, Graci got an early start in the game and has looked to her big sister as a guiding light over the years.
“I’d have to say that my sister has been my biggest role model. She had a lot of success in softball, and I’ve always strived to be like her in that regard,” said Graci who is a member of the National Honor Society as well as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, student council and Spanish club. And that spare time activity that Graci enjoys? It’s stock car racing.
“My grandpa worked on race cars and then my dad got into racing, and I was around it and so I started racing at Thunderbird Speedway when I was about eight and I’ve raced ever since at Thunderbird,
Outlaw Speedway for awhile until it closed and in Salina. I won last year at Thunderbird which was special for me since that was where I first started,” said Graci.
Next spring when the last player is out in slow pitch, Graci plans to hang up her bat and glove and look forward to attending Northeastern State to study mechanical engineering